Biography:Gale Huntington

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Gale Huntington

 Given name:     E.
 Middle name:     Gale
 Family name:     Huntington
 Place of birth:     
 Place of death:     Martha's Vineyard
 Year of birth:     
 Year of death:     1993
 Profile:     Collector, Editor, Musician
 Source of information:

Biographical notes

Quoted from Mark Alan Lovewell's review in the Vineyard Gazette, Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

E. Gale Huntington is a Vineyard original. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum library is named after him, for his huge contribution to the museum and its collections, where he worked as both librarian and archivist. He was the founder and 19-year editor of the museum’s historical publication: The Intelligencer. He taught at the Tisbury High School, was a dropline fisherman in the summer and a bay scalloper in the fall. And in his spare time he made music.

Alone or with his wife Mildred and other musicians, he sang, played the fiddle and the guitar. He played in a group that included Mike Athearn on accordion or guitar, Hollis Smith on fiddle, Ernest Correllus on banjo, and Thomas Hart Benton on harmonica. He created the record, Folksongs from Martha’s Vineyard, which is still available from Smithsonian Folkways.

Mr. Huntington is perhaps best known for his huge contribution to maritime folk songs. In 1964, his book, Songs the Whalemen Sang, a collection of sea chanties, became a major contribution to the folk music community. That book was reprinted several times. It went out of print for decades, but was recently brought back by Mystic Seaport in 2006. It is a 328-page treasure.

Though Gale died in 1993, in 2010 Sam Henry’s Songs of the People, co-authored with Lani Herrmann, was published by University of Georgia Press. It is considered a Bible of Irish songs, ballads and fiddle tunes.

And now, 21 years after Mr. Huntington’s death, there is a new book: The Gam, More Songs the Whalemen Sang, a sequel to Songs the Whalemen Sang. Certain communities have known about this unpublished book for decades. Friends of the family, and friends in the world of sea chantey singing (this writer and singer included), have known about its existence. But publishing is a fluky business. There were false starts. But now it is here. - See more at:

Picture credit:"E. Gale Huntington and his wife Mildred made beautiful music together. Mark Lovewell" [1]